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Preview Issue Volume 1 2013

URBAN MUSIC MAGAZINE

TM

HIP HOP IS EaS IC the Reve ls

r g of he meanin e p , ixed ta new m hood” “Mutha

XUMM REVIEW

TYLER, THE CREATOR The LA native captivates the Columbus audience

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

WAKA FLOCKA On everything from Instagram to Sarah Palin $4.95


Preview Issue Volume 1 2013

URBAN MUSIC MAGAZINE

TM

FROM THE BOSS Music and entertainment could be described as the unifying voice that exceeds racial, cultural and generation barriers. Thus, bringing people together who have this common appreciation is the goal of X Urban Music Magazine. It is with passion and dedication that we labor to Xpose and inform our readers on current hits and hit makers in the urban music industry. X Urban Music Magazine will keep you informed on upcoming concerts, concert reviews, and who’s hot and what’s hot in the music industry. Each day we are expanding our audience by diversifying our content to include a mix of music genres. We need your support, America! If you have skills and would like to showcase your talents, do not hesitate to get in contact. Also, if you are an advertiser we are always looking for products or services to be presented before our readers, so please take advantage of this growing opportunity. Give us the opportunity to be your source for music and entertainment! Sincerely, Anthony Alden Vines Publication Director

HIP-HOP (SIDE A)

Cover: Tyler, the Creator Icesis, pg. 3 A$AP Rocky, pg. 5 Waka Flocka, pg. 6 Tyler, the Creator, pg. 8 R&B (SIDE B)

Cover: Elle Varner R. Kelly, pg. 10 Artist Spotlight, pg. 11 Sinkane, pg. 12 The Jacksons, pg. 14 Ginuwine, pg. 15 Elle Varner, pg. 16

OUR CREW PUBLICATION DIRECTOR Anthony Alden Vines

XUMM VISION X Urban Music magazine is a platform for established headline acts as well as emerging artist in hip-hop, rap, R&B and more. Our staff is dedicated to creating a premium music publication that will accomplish your advertising, entertainment and publicity needs. X Urban Music Magazine is a registered trademark published four times per year by Soul On Canvas Media. Contents copyright © 2013 by Soul On Canvas Media and may not be reproduced or transmitted in any manner or form without prior written consent of the publisher. The opinions expressed in the preview issue are those of the writers themselves and are not necessarily of this magazine. Not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. For subscription, advertising, submissions, comments or employment opportunities, please email xurbanmusicmag@gmail.com Printed in the USA www.xurbanmusicmag.com XUMM | Preview Issue

WHAT’S INSIDE

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STAFF WRITERS Nikie Decay

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Genesis Shine Roseian Kopano Marumo Wes Flexner

GRAPHIC DESIGN Lizzie Settineri WEB DESIGN Larry Sparks

ADVERTISING AND MARKETING Patricia Brower

PHOTOGRAPHY

Anthony Alden Photography


IceSis Muthahood Who is this radiant rap goddess? We’ve got the scoop! Interviewed and written by Nikie Decay

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emale rapper, IceSis, hails from Arlington, Texas. After discovering her on SoundCloud and Twitter, we had to pull her in for an interview. She has five kids - ranging from nine months to seventeen years - and out of these years, she has been rapping for thirteen of them. “Raising kids, it’s hard to say on it. I’ve been trying to keep up and make mix tapes - trying to be productive, raising kids and writing music, it’s really hard.” She went on to say, “I’m taking a minute to get back into it. I had to take a pause to raise the baby, but I’m ready to get back on it.” Despite being six months pregnant, she performed a show. The people who saw her pregnant on stage rapping and singing were saying, “I can’t believe you’re out here doing this,” IceSis recalls. “I had to take a break. I had health problems that made me go into early labor. I raised my son and regained my health. I bounced back and I’m ready to do it again.” Every once in a while, Sis will do a cute remix to songs, keeping it sexy and original. The mix-tape, titled “Muthahood”, will hopefully be out on Mother’s Day. The tape will em-

IceSis plans to drop her newest mix-tape, “Muthahood”, by Mother’s Day of 2013.

body themes of female empowerment and maternity. When I asked IceSis what kind of press she’s received, I was ultimately surprised to hear she was interviewed in Low Rider Magazine, and that she performed on stage with Fat Joe. While her music seems to be very important to her, it is clear that family comes first. “My husband is the love of my life and is also my manager. We’re raising kids and doing music as a family thing. We’ve been doing it since ’98. He helps produce my music and he manages. Makes sure everything’s in line. We do it

as a couple, you know? It’s relationship plus business, so it’s like love and hip hop.” Her style is versatile: dirty south, hardcore rap, R&B and even pop. “Sticking with one genre, there’s so much to experience. Later on, I want to tap into country, and I like rock so we’ll see.” She hinted that Ke$ha and Lady Gaga are a couple of her top influences when it comes to pop and dance. What really pulled me into the Sis charm was her fascination for dubstep, and this new style will definitely be making an appearance in her next mix tape. Move over Ke$ha and Gaga, I have to make room for this “eye candy” diva.

Sticking with one genre, there’s so much to experience. Later on I want to tap into country, and I like rock so we’ll see.” Check out IceSis and her press kit for pictures, songs, and a bio. Also, check out her YouTube channel. Make a playlist, make some lemonade, and kick back. XUMM | Preview Issue

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YOU MADE IT, YOU KEEP IT Don’t get caught up like some other music stars! Learn from the mistakes of artists such as Lauryn Hill, R.Kelly, Ja Rule, Ron Isley, Fat Joe, Mary J. Blige, and many others.

Contact Edward E. Dudley Sr., M.B.A., CPA Over 10 years of experience working for the IRS! Certified Public Accountant, www.eddudleycpa.com 614-337-8122, ed@eddudleycpa.com


A$AP ROCKY

Live at The Newport

Anthony Alden

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aturday afternoon, four hours and 45 minutes before show time, our email confirmation for media credentials came at 3:15 p.m. The “A$AP ROCKY MOB” would shortly grace Columbus at the Newport Music Hall located on Ohio State University’s main drag for music driven attractions and the like..... High Street. Because of OSU’s homecoming ceremony and my knowledge of the difficulty of finding parking downtown, I grabbed my equipment and rolled out! After 30 minutes of casing OSU’s campus like a shark in hunt for a meal, I finally pounced on the first opening I saw. In a hurry, I jumped out of my car without paying any attention to the “no parking” signs, but before I could put money in the meter, a cop appeared out of thin air. Standing with the posture of Goliath and dressed in a well-pressed uniform and newly polished badge, he informed me to move my vehicle or else it would be towed. Damn, I was arrested with emotion… with the pressure of getting to the venue and the relief of compassion of the law. Lord knows $10 to park versus $175 to tow was an easy choice. One of the hottest newly proclaimed hip-hop rappers in the game was in my city, and by all means I had to be there. 23-year-old Harlem native, Rakim Meyers, is better known as A$AP ROCKY, a video

director and lead member of the hip-hop collective, A$AP Rocky Mob. The A$AP Rocky Mob has prevailed from obscurity to hip-hop idol fame, securing a three million dollar record deal from Sony/RCA earlier this year. Arriving on stage wearing a black ski mask and draped in a black and white American flag, A$AP took control of the audience like a heavy weight boxing champion. His high-energy approach brought the packed house to attention, and a frenzy of outstretched arms began reaching, in hopes that they would touch Rocky as he floated across the stage shouting “Wassup Columbus!” The crowd in an uproar echoed even louder “ASAP!” As his name bounced off the walls, I was drenched in a sweat of excitement from his crowd. A$AP and the Mob seamlessly hit all of their fans’ favorites including “Wassup” and “Purple Rain.” Track after track, A$AP and the Mob brought the fire as the crowd turned up the heat. With speakers blasting a stew of mix-tape hits, bass lines thumped to the hearts of loyal fans as they chanted to the melody of the hypnotic rhymes. Was it a great performance? Based on the packed house, applause and the charisma that oozed from the love of his craft, Rocky nailed it.

A$AP Rocky performs for Columbus at The Newport on October 6, 2012.

Four young women enjoy a night of dancing and music at the A$AP Rocky concert.

Two men pose for a portrait during the A$AP Rocky Concert at The Newport on High Street.

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Waka Flocka Flame Interview by Wes Flexner

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aka Flocka Flame has been known to find himself in trouble from time to time. He has been shot, and he has gone to jail. But I think it is safe to say that the Atlanta rapper has spent the last year in support of his album “Triple -F Life”, which proves that he is just a regular guy. So when I caught up with Mr. Flame, I kept three “f’s” in mind: friends, fans, and family.

Wes Flexner: I noticed that you are really good with your fans. Why are your fans important to you?

Waka Flocka Flame: C’mon man. Why are interviews important? Same difference. That’s a must. Without your fans, who are you? Why are you doing music? I used to think, “it’s just for the money.” It’s cool to get the money. But if you don’t have no fans, shit ain’t fun. It’s cool to smile. I like the feeling of making a person smile. WF: My friend and I were going through your Instagram. You had Photoshop images with Spongebob Squarepants. Do you make those Photoshop images yourself ? WFF: Hey man, hey man. You called me out. I make those myself. XUMM | Preview Issue

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WF: Are you friends with Tyler, the Creator of Odd Future?

WFF: Tyler, the Creator is my badass little brother. Every time you see him, you be like, “this mutha-***** is wild.” WF: Sorry to get a little personal, but on “O’Le Do It” you said you hadn’t been right since your brother passed. Have you been able to find peace with that? WFF: Honestly, I don’t think I will be able to find peace until I close my eyes. WF: Is your mom still managing you?

WFF: My mother will always manage me. If I get another manager, I am going to have two of them. She will always be the last one to make the decision.

WF: That’s cool. I am going to ask you a silly question. I was reading that Sarah Palin had an affair with basketball player Glen Rice back in the ‘80’s. I was wondering, what do you think of Sarah Palin? She ran for president. WFF: The president lady?

WF: Not Michelle Obama. Sarah Palin. She is from Alaska. When basketball players would come and play up there she would hang out with them after the games. WFF: Shoot, you need to hook that up boy… I wish I’d seen her. I ain’t got a picture so I can’t answer the question. She sounds like she would be… you know. WF: Yeah, it’d be funny. It’d be great.


Upper Cup Coffee

Where legendary mix master, Ice, sips his Java

Check us out today! 79 Parsons Ave., Olde Towne East Columbus, OH 43215 http://www.theuppercup.com/


“TYLER, THE Anthony Alden

CREATOR” LIVE

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atching Tyler, The Creator live in concert is like watching an aerobics class in session, except Tyler is teaching us how to walk in paradox to his beat. I’m a traditional hip-hop fan, so I must admit when I first heard of him I had to Google his credibility, because my music IQ can become one-dimensional. The alternative hip-hop collective rapper hails from Los Angeles, CA. and has been stirring debate with fans and critics because of his use of topics such as rape and murder. Despite the fact that Tyler has gained much recognition and was the winner of MTV’s Video Music Award for Best New Artist in 2011, his group grabs attention as soon as their mouths reach the microphones. They refuse to censor their thoughts no matter how deranged and perverted they are. I arrived at the venue around 7: 30 p.m. when the doors were to open at 7 p.m.. Despite the time being half an hour after the doors’ opening, the line still stretched as far as your eye could see down High Street on OSU’s campus. For a minute it felt like I was a Beatles revival fan pushing and shoving to get inside away from the cold. My tensions began to rise. I had read a little about Tyler fans. I wasn’t exactly ready to fight my way into the venue or catch a diving fan in my arms. I didn’t exactly know what to expect, but I came to find that the audience was a diverse group of hipsters who appreciate his brand of rap. The crowd contained a huge variety of XUMM | Preview Issue

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cultures, ages and ethnicities. In fact, I stood out like a sore thumb being a black guy at this rap concert.

By 8:30 p.m., as the sold out crowd began shoving to get closer to the stage, they began to chant and become restless. The main floor area to the stage was tightly packed. I enjoyed

my $5 12-oz Coors light draft beer as I watched the crowd from the balcony. I knew when the concert started I would flash my press pass and be escorted past all of the drama to the front of the stage. It was past 9 p.m. by the time Tyler, minus OFWGKTA, came on stage, and there was a full crowd pushing at my backside. It reeked of beer, sweat, and funk… and I don’t mean music. Before I could take a shot with my camera, a bottle of water smacked me in the back of the head. Un-phased, I kept my lens focused on the stage. Tyler floated out on stage, owned his moves, did a little MJ float, and demanded stage presence as he connected with his fans who were chanting “Wolf Gang”, “Golf Wang.” The combination of the loud bass, up-tempo rap and hard beats reminded me more of a rock concert. Overall, I was impressed by his ability to connect with such a wide audience, and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the industry in the future.


Preview Issue Volume 1 2013

URBAN MUSIC MAGAZINE

TM

R&B

Featuring the upcoming

ELLE VARNER

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

GINUWINE Find out how fatherhood has affected his creative process!

ARTIS

T

Spotl XUMM REVIEW

R. KELLY

Single Ladies Tour

See p

ight

age 1

1!


R

KELLY Anthony Alden

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he “Pied Piper” R. Kelly, who earlier this summer, earned critical acclaim with his eleventh studio album, “Write Me Back Now”, embarked on a nationwide tour in its support. The 30 city major tour found Kelly making performances coast to coast with one being here in Columbus, Ohio. I entered Veterans Memorial Auditorium through the stage entrance. Parked outside were four trailers and five luxury motor coach homes, each assembled with the production team needed to pull this tour off. I was both amazed and impressed. Before Kelly hit the stage, six-time Grammy Award nominated soulful songstress Tamia Hill brought to center stage her beauty, personality and poise. A five-piece band backed her up for a night of slow burning performances. Her five–octave range garnished hits “So into You”, “Stranger In My House”, “Missing You” and “Me”. Needless to say, she was a beautiful addition to the tour. My favorite, “You Put a Move on My Heart”, broke the stagger as the crowd roared and sang along to the heartbreakingly real lyrics. Tamia’s extraordinary jazz soprano voice has a spiritual, neo-soul feel that leaves you looking forward to her next XUMM | Preview Issue

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rendition. Tamia gave a five star performance, which explains why she still ranks so highly on the R&B chart.

after song, like an iPod on shuffle, with a few memorable hits. He would sample the intro, tease you with a few verses and move on to the next hit skipping to a new song every 30 seconds. With slow jam classics like “12 Play”, “Real Talk”, “Bump and Grind”, “Yo Booty Calling”, and “I’m a Flirt”, Kelly rode his standing room only fans on a roller coaster of love. Full of bedroom ballads and Chicago Steppin’, he kept his fan base covered as his lyrical gimmicks ignited the crowd.

For more than two decades R. Kelly has mesmerized ladies and yes, gentlemen too, with a musical style that has transcended generations. Old school and new school Kelly has won fans in both arenas. He has done everything from writing, producing, performing and directing. R. Kelly is a legend in his own right. Kelly hit the stage firing off song

While photographing the concert a pair of sexy Victoria Secrets lace panties missed their mark and fell right in front of my lens. Before I could swoop them up, Kelly strolled by, dipped and scooped the panties up. I ain’t lying! “The Single Ladies Tour” was met with many fine women screaming and shouting. Kelly has truly learned the art of seduction.


ARTIST SPOTLIGHT Catching up with Mojo Flo Written by Kopano Marumo THE BAND Some of Mojo Flo’s live performances have seen up to nine people on stage. However, Amber, George, J.L. and Walter form the core group. Amber is responsible for the lead vocals, background vocals, social media, choreography and styling. George is the guitarist and vocalist, as well as the producer, engineer, and performance booker. J.L. is the rapper, engineer, production manager, and transportation manager. Lastly, Walter is the saxophonist, and is responsible for promotions, public relations, and the creative aspects of the band. THE SOUND Mojo Flo describes their sound as neo-funk: a blend of soul and jazz. They draw much of their inspiration from a select group of artists, from Miles Davis to James Brown, from Chaka Khan to Beyonce, from The Roots to Erykah Badu. It’s no wonder they pride themselves on being a live band. DYNAMICS They begin with music, and follow

Mojo Flo keeping it real after a concert. Their relaxed and eclectic style mirror the bands sound.

it with lyrics. The band tries to create music together as often as possible, in addition to writing as a collective. FASHION Mojo Flo aims for a cohesive image that represents their sound. They are contemporary without being trendy, classic without being retro or dated, and have a clean style that will stand the test of time.

PROJECTS Waiting EP Whatcha Think About That EP

Scott Tixier With hair like that of Einstein and a smile cherubic in nature, Scott Tixier, a Jazz violinist from France, romanced the atmosphere of our interview without notice and with no effort. His soft cotton undertone and silk accent were pleasant to listen to while being in his company. Scott started playing classical music at the age of six, and at the age of 26 he has achieved a status far beyond what he had ever imagined. Born into a musically inclined family, Scott was bound to be a performing

7” Vinyl Single “Home to You” b/w “Dance” Weekly web series titled “Mojo Flo Live from the Warehouse” to premiere in February on Youtube. PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS Water Front Independence Festival in Louisville with Midnight Star and Jimmy Cliff. Opening for Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players at the Ohio Homecoming and 200 Columbus Weekend Festival. Headlined in Comfest 2011 and 2012

Award Winning French Jazz Violinist Interview by and written by Roseian

artist. His mother and twin brother are both pianists and his father is an actor. While in primary school, destiny placed him under the mentorship of Florin Niculescu, a Romanian violinist considered to be the best Jazz manouche (gypsy swing) violinist of all time. Niculescu lived behind the conservatory school that Scott attended as a teenager, and soon, time spent with Niculescu while“ditching” class grew into a friendship that taught him the important lessons of improvisation and time discipline.

Scott Tixier, an award winning french jazz violinisit, hails from Montreuil, France.

Check out his harmonious beats on SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/scott-tixier XUMM | Preview Issue

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SINKANE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

The Wheels on the Bus: What Drives the Band?

Interviewed and written by Nikie Decay “I don’t mean to let you down, gotta keep on runnin,” is a slice of one of Sinkane’s hit singles from their newly released album, “Marz”. For an industry that has become blander with each passing year, I was ecstatic to have found this new band stepping up the flavor. When I asked lead singer Ahmed Gallab to explain what the band’s name represents, I was quite astonished at his response. “I was listening to Kanye West,” Gallab recalls, “when I heard a word he sung in one of his songs. Later, I looked up the lyrics, and came to find that “Sinkane” was not what he said. But either way, the name stuck with me.” When asked whom he would like to tour with - other than Tunde Adepimpeto, who already shared the stage with him on the 2013 tour - Kanye’s name was brought up, along with Williy Hawk Nelson and MGMT. In any case, this year is the year of “Sinkane”, whose YouTube views and popularity on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter will continue to rise. Everyone has to start somewhere, and the long road is just beginning for Sinkane. Their tour kicked off early February in Columbus, Ohio at Ace of Cups where they played all of their songs from “Marz”. Gallab noted that occasionally they perform covers. However, because they are always creating new music, I infer they will XUMM | Preview Issue

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have their hands full for a while. Their sound is psychedelic meets punk, twisted with jazz, all in the same mixing pot of genres. However, as Gallab puts it best, “when it comes to the fans, I like to let them decide what they are listening to. I want our music to be universal where it can mean something different for different people.” After learning his idea of what Sinkane represents – support of free thinkers and open minds - I thought back to one quote that really stood out in my mind: “Music is like a conversation, and as long as we create music, we’re speaking to our listeners.” There are a total of four members in the band: Ahmed Gallab who sings, Ish Montgomery who plays base, Mikey Freedom Hart who strums the guitar, and Jaytram who taps on the drums. When I briefly referenced how Gallab can play more than one instrument, he revealed that Mikey has the ability do the same by playing guitar and keyboard at the same time. This is a must see for any of the multitasking fans out there. Their Europe tour kicked off on March 31st. I learned that they will be making appearances in Germany, France, Belgium and several other countries in the coming months. I subtly asked which country is their favorite, although I didn’t get a straight answer. They are just happy to be in a van traveling the globe

with “[their] nice working hands and strong grip.” But even with the success that has and will continue to come with the production of the album, Sinkane gives a big portion of their thanks to Greg Losaro and Albert Di Fiore. He feels indebted to them, going on to say that they orchestrated something “beyond what he could ever imagine.” The topic came up of how surreal it is that Sinkane is becoming nationally known. Gallab’s response was laid back, “Focus on the task of hand. Play shows, and then drive far to do it again. That’s what’s on my mind. It’s exciting, but when you’re on the other end of the spectrum, you never think about that. You think about the immediate task at hand.” From that, I gathered how hard working and dedicated this band actually is. “It’s not easy being in a band. At surface level, it seems exciting because you’re hearing the music, but you’re not seeing the time it takes getting there. It takes a certain kind of person to bear it. It’s the greatest thing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s what I’ve wanted and I am taking responsibility for it.” Last but not least, I asked Ahmed if he would like to add a message to his fans, and he was more then willing to speak up. “I hope that people are enjoying my music, and I hope it will allow me to meet people all over the world and make friends and connections, and I also hope that I can continue to create more music.”


I CAME TO SEE THE JACKSONS Anthony Alden

“I’m goin’ back to Indiana Indiana here I come I’m goin’ back to Indiana, Cause that’s where my baby’s from.” The chorus repeated in my mind. The lyrics looped repeatedly as the mile markers on the freeway passed in slow motion. I was on my way to Chicago and had decided to detour to Gary, Indiana, the birthplace of the Jackson 5. Like a kid going to an amusement park, I was excited with anticipation. “Goin’ Back to Indiana” was a live soundtrack by The Jackson 5 taken from their September 16, 1971 ABC TV special of the same name. The “Goin’ Back to Indiana” television special featured comedians Bill Cosby and Tommy Smothers, singers Bobby Darin and Diana Ross, football players Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier and Ben Davidson, and also basketball stars Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor and Elvin Hayes. It included featured tracks recorded by The Jackson 5 during their January 31st “homecoming” concert in Gary, Indiana (hence, both the show and song title of the 1970’s appeared on their third album). The album went on to sell 2.6 million copies worldwide. I approached my exit off the highway, came to a stop, made a right turn and drove down the street about a quarter of a mile. The landscape on both sides served as a backdrop to the old dilapidated industrial buildings. In the distance, I saw a huge colorful billboard that stood out against the dingy XUMM | Preview Issue

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gray horizon. The billboard read Casino Royale. I thought to myself, what an odd place to build a casino amidst all of the ruin and decay. I wanted to make a detour and try my luck at Blackjack, but I had come here on a mission: to see the childhood home of The Jackson Five.

This was my first time visiting Gary, Indiana, a city that once thrived with steel mills until their eventual collapse in the mid 1970’s. White flight left the city of Gary 84% African American, with no tax base. In 2005, the murder rate was almost nine times the national average. Interestingly enough, in recent years, the crime rate has significantly dropped. This is most likely due to the criminal majority’s movement westward or the fact that most are doing time. Hey, get this, the city of Gary received 266 million dollars of stimulus money and according to “Federal Recipient Reported Data,” has created a grand total of 327 jobs. That’s $800,000 per job! Also, there is the little known fact the city of Gary helped

President Obama to win the state of Indiana. Sounds like a hook up to me. Somebody got paid! I see why MJ invested in Neverland Valley Ranch and not in Gary. Aside from several inconvenient detours, I finally navigated my way around the city’s ruins of decay and pulled up to 2300 Jackson Street. It was by chance the Jackson’s lived on Jackson Street, named after President Andrew Jackson. I got out of the car, walked up to the small ranch house and thought to myself, “how in the hell did Joe and Katherine raise ten kids in this shoebox?” Well, the fanfare was clearly over. It looked like I had missed it by about three years. The makeshift memorial looked like the rest of Gary, Indiana: abandoned and neglected.

The run-down city scape was an odd contrast to the fame of the Jackson 5.

I snapped a few photos, echoed my own self proclaimed lyrics; “I’m gettin’ the hell out of Gary Indiana,” and jumped in my ride. As I drove away, I realized Gary, Indiana and Michael had one thing in common: they were both a lost metropolis.


GINUWINE Interview by Wes Flexner

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inuwine’s hits, “Pony” and “In Them Jeans”, have been staples of the American soundtrack for years. Most likely, you know the words to “Pony” whether you were in high school in the late ’90’s or went to the club for your 21st birthday last week. As you read this you will probably say to yourself, “if you are feeling horny, come ride my pony.” And chances are you will probably giggle because it sounds absolutely ridiculous, unless you happen to possess Ginuwine’s great voice and can maintain a Timbaland beat. Think about this. It is currently the year 2013, and Ginuwine is married with kids. I had the opportunity to talk to the R&B legend and discuss how being a parent has affected his creative process.

Wes Flexner: Ginuwine. We all grew up on “Pony”. It is a classic song. At the same time, the lyrics are pretty raunchy. Has being a “grown-up” and having kids hindered your ability to

create music in the manner for which you are known?

Ginuwine: No, not really. I believe in myself as an artist. I have been here for a while. That is just where being creative comes in. You can use metaphors and do a lot of things to make lyrics more tasteful instead of raunchy and explicit. Because I have kids, I am well aware of the effect it can have. I look at the things that I am writing before I put them out. I’m totally aware of that. It’s not hard at all. That’s when the creative process comes in. It’s actually a challenge. It’s a great challenge. To write something explicit is really simple. But to write something that is still tasteful yet says the same thing requires some thinking. And that is what I like to do when I am writing and getting involved in the studio. So I am looking forward to the challenge. Adults like to have fun too. WF: Now that you are married, how do

you reject groupies yet still make them feel loved? You have always been gifted at making women feel special.

G: I have always complimented the young ladies, and I just want to make them feel appreciated as well. But they all know that I am married. So I just try to shrug it off or joke about if they say something crazy. I’ll just be like ‘I can’t do that or whatever, not being mean about it and not being an a-hole. There is finesse to it. And for a lot of people, it takes a few years for them to get the hang of it. It comes with the territory. You just have to let them know in a nice way, in a joking way. When you do, they will appreciate you and love you even more for doing that. So I have no problem saying what needs to be said so that the line of respect is not crossed. It’s all good. As long as they respect that line we can continue to support each other. They support me and I support them. XUMM | Preview Issue

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Elle VARNER Provided by RCA Records

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or some, living a dream is a privilege, a blessing if you will. For others, it’s more of a calling. There’s no doubt that Elle Varner’s creative journey should be filed in the latter category, but even as her destiny unfolds before her, she can barely believe her eyes. Her childhood was steeped in hooks and verses, melodies and choruses. Whether she was flipping through her mother’s Motown collection, singing along to Burt Bacharach classics or accompanying her songwriter parents to their recording sessions, music was an ever-present force. It’s the only life she knew. “Growing up in the studio was absolutely normal for me, but looking back, I realize that it’s not a very common environment for a kid,” Elle remarked. “At an early age I absorbed so much about music and learned how to create a song from beginning to end. My dad always asked for my opinion on what he was working on, and I remember my mom would ask, ‘What word should I add here?’ They really empowered me.” With the release of her debut album, “Perfectly Imperfect” (MBK Entertainment/RCA Records), which she wrote and co-produced, it’s evident that her early experiences have served her well. Crafting the album also proved to be a full-circle moment for the 23-year-old singer/songwriter as she enlisted the help of her parents, Jimmy Varner and Mikelyn Roderick, who both contributed their production and vocal arrangement talents and pushed Elle toward, and beyond, the bounds of her creativity. When asked to describe her feelings about the finished product, Elle took a moment to ponder the question. “I can honestly say that I’m in love with every song on this album,” she says confidently. Born in Los Angeles proper and raised throughout southern California’s city limits, Elle, now a resident of Brooklyn, recalls the first time she really heard her own voice: she was nine years old and singing in her church’s youth choir. That was the spark that ignited her drive to pursue the arts. Soon after, she had a short-lived moment with the flute, fol-

lowed by formal piano lessons. “I wasn’t very disciplined about practicing when I was younger, which I think was a blessing in disguise,” notes Elle, who eventually taught herself to play the guitar and now plays “drums, guitar, a little bass, a little piano and flute.” Elle, pondering on her practicing, remarked, “Sometimes, when you know too much about an instrument, you can get lost in that. Everything in me comes from the most basic point of musical understanding.” Varner’s debut single, “Only Wanna Give It to You” was released on August 6, 2011. The song, which serves as the lead single from her debut studio album “Perfectly Imperfect” (2012), features American rapper J. Cole. The song peaked at #20 on the US Billboard R&B/HipHop Songs chart. In October 2011, she was listed as one of TheBoomBox’s ‘15 Artists to Watch’ and was one of the artists featured in BET’s Music Matters campaign. Elle Varner’s debut album, “Perfectly Imperfect”, was released on August 7, 2012, debuting at number four on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 33,000 copies in the United States. It also debuted at number two on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.

I’ve been blessed with the tremendous gift of music and it’s my responsibility to share it with the world. Continuing to take her place on center stage as she proudly counts the FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, and daughter, Malia, amongst her fans, Elle Varner sees no limit to her possibilities. “I think every girl dreams of being famous and enjoying all of the hoopla that comes with it, but at this point in my life, I know, like I know my name, that this is what I’m supposed to be doing,” she says. “I’ve been blessed with the tremendous gift of music and it’s my responsibility to share it with the world. I see big things in the future.” XUMM | Preview Issue

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“TYLER, THE Anthony Alden

CREATOR” LIVE

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atching Tyler, The Creator live in concert is like watching an aerobics class in session, except Tyler is teaching us how to walk in paradox to his beat. I’m a traditional hip-hop fan, so I must admit when I first heard of him I had to Google his credibility, because my music IQ can become one-dimensional. The alternative hip-hop collective rapper hails from Los Angeles, CA. and has been stirring debate with fans and critics because of his use of topics such as rape and murder. Despite the fact that Tyler has gained much recognition and was the winner of MTV’s Video Music Award for Best New Artist in 2011, his group grabs attention as soon as their mouths reach the microphones. They refuse to censor their thoughts no matter how deranged and perverted they are. I arrived at the venue around 7: 30 p.m. when the doors were to open at 7 p.m.. Despite the time being half an hour after the doors’ opening, the line still stretched as far as your eye could see down High Street on OSU’s campus. For a minute it felt like I was a Beatles revival fan pushing and shoving to get inside away from the cold. My tensions began to rise. I had read a little about Tyler fans. I wasn’t exactly ready to fight my way into the venue or catch a diving fan in my arms. I didn’t exactly know what to expect, but I came to find that the audience was a diverse group of hipsters who appreciate his brand of rap. The crowd contained a huge variety

of cultures, ages and ethnicities. In fact, I stood out like a sore thumb being a black guy at this rap concert.

By 8:30 p.m., as the sold out crowd began shoving to get closer to the stage, they began to chant and become restless. The main floor area to the stage was tightly packed. I enjoyed my $5 12-

oz Coors light draft beer as I watched the crowd from the balcony. I knew when the concert started I would flash my press pass and be escorted past all of the drama to the front of the stage. It was past 9 p.m. by the time Tyler, minus OFWGKTA, came on stage, and there was a full crowd pushing at my backside. It reeked of beer, sweat, and funk… and I don’t mean music. Before I could take a shot with my camera, a bottle of water smacked me in the back of the head. Un-phased, I kept my lens focused on the stage. Tyler floated out on stage, owned his moves, did a little MJ float, and demanded stage presence as he connected with his fans who were chanting “Wolf Gang”, “Golf Wang.” The combination of the loud bass, up-tempo rap and hard beats reminded me more of a rock concert. Overall, I was impressed by his ability to connect with such a wide audience, and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the industry in the future.

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KELLY SINGLE LADIES TOUR Anthony Alden

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he “Pied Piper” R. Kelly, who earlier this summer, earned critical acclaim with his eleventh studio album, “Write Me Back Now”, embarked on a nationwide tour in its support. The 30 city major tour found Kelly making performances coast to coast with one being here in Columbus, Ohio. I entered Veterans Memorial Auditorium through the stage entrance. Parked outside were four trailers and five luxury motor coach homes, each assembled with the production team needed to pull this tour off. I was both amazed and impressed. Before Kelly hit the stage, six-time Grammy Award nominated soulful songstress Tamia Hill brought to center stage her beauty, personality and poise. A five-piece band backed her up for a night of slow burning performances. Her five–octave range garnished hits “So into You”, “Stranger In My House”, “Missing You” and “Me”. Needless to say, she was a beautiful addition to the tour. My favorite, “You Put a Move on My Heart”, broke the stagger as the crowd roared and sang along to the heartbreakingly real lyrics. Tamia’s extraordinary jazz soprano voice has a spiritual, neo-soul feel that leaves you looking forward to her next rendition.

Tamia gave a five star performance, which explains why she still ranks so highly on the R&B chart.

after song, like an iPod on shuffle, with a few memorable hits. He would sample the intro, tease you with a few verses and move on to the next hit skipping to a new song every 30 seconds. With slow jam classics like “12 Play”, “Real Talk”, “Bump and Grind”, “Yo Booty Calling”, and “I’m a Flirt”, Kelly rode his standing room only fans on a roller coaster of love. Full of bedroom ballads and Chicago Steppin’, he kept his fan base covered as his lyrical gimmicks ignited the crowd.

For more than two decades R. Kelly has mesmerized ladies and yes, gentlemen too, with a musical style that has transcended generations. Old school and new school Kelly has won fans in both arenas. He has done everything from writing, producing, performing and directing. R. Kelly is a legend in his own right. Kelly hit the stage firing off song

While photographing the concert a pair of sexy Victoria Secrets lace panties missed their mark and fell right in front of my lens. Before I could swoop them up, Kelly strolled by, dipped and scooped the panties up. I ain’t lying! “The Single Ladies Tour” was met with many fine women screaming and shouting. Kelly has truly learned the art of seduction.

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